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LMS with SSO (Single Sign-On): How It Protects Your Data

• 6 min read

A learning management system (LMS) with single sign-on (SSO) provides the system’s users with access to the learning management system by using just a single set of login credentials across multiple platforms or applications.

These types of systems are designed to enhance accessibility for learners, trainers, and other stakeholders while also keeping data security front and center.

In this article, we’ll be going over the benefits of LMSs with SSO, the different options of SSO available, and several ways to choose an LMS with SSO.

What is Single Sign-On?

Single sign-on (SSO) is a functionality that allows users to access multiple apps and services by using a single set of login credentials.

These sets of credentials can include things like an email address, user ID, or username and password.

The SSO feature works based on a connection between a Service Provider (in this case, the LMS) and an identity governance platform like ConductorOne or Okta.

The user authorization and authentication process comprises several steps.

  1. The user goes to the Service Provider’s website or application.
  2. The Service Provider sends a token (user identity data) to the Identity Provider (SSO system) as an authentication method.
  3. The IdP checks to see if the user has already been authenticated.
  4. If not, users will need to provide their credentials to the IdP, like username, password, or some form of multi-factor authentication.
  5. Once it has checked the user credentials, the IdP will confirm the user authentication by returning a token.
  6. This token goes through the user’s browser, is validated by the access governance tool, and the user is granted access to the system.

An SSO functionality is an important part of an LMS’ list of technical requirements, particularly when it comes to its LMS integrations.

This feature provides a series of benefits to the learner and the organization implementing the e-learning platform.

What are the benefits of implementing SSO in your LMS?

An LMS SSO integration provides several key benefits to learners and organizations.

These include the following.

1. Improved data security

Although 91% of internet users know that password recycling poses a significant security risk, 59% still use the same password on all of their accounts.

With SSO, where the number of passwords needed to access different systems is reduced, the chances of reusing the same password multiple times also decrease.

More importantly, SSO enables LMS system admins to have greater control over user password security. They can manage password strength and monitor expiry dates or any password changes.

Admins can also see if there have been any failed login attempts or if a user’s credentials for one or more platforms have been compromised. In that case, system administrators can quickly change multiple passwords, mitigating the risk of more compromised systems.

Alternatively, SSOs make it much easier to restrict access and remove users from the entire system at the same time.

This applies whenever an employee leaves the organization and access is stripped from the company’s applications. This is particularly important for the prevention of insider threats, which may happen if a disgruntled employee with resentment towards the company has bad intentions.

Simply put, SSOs take password management and security away from the end users and puts them in control of the system administrators.

2. Easier access

It can be a hassle for employees, learners, and other stakeholders to log into each of the company’s platforms individually.

Worse yet, if they forget a password, they also need to spend valuable time recovering or resetting it, which could otherwise be spent on more important tasks.

As Ayman Abdel-Rahman, CEO of Kotobee puts it, “By integrating SSO into an LMS, learners can access multiple platforms and resources with a single set of credentials. 

This reduces the hassle of remembering and managing multiple usernames and passwords. 

For example, learners can access their LMS using SSO and can access the resources on the LMS as well as many external resources that were made accessible using many interoperability features such as Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI). 

This makes it much easier for educators to compile all necessary resources in one place and not worry that learners will lose access to some of them.”

3. Improved user satisfaction

Employees will often appreciate not having to remember and log into each one of the company’s systems.

This is particularly true for organizations with large tech stacks ranging from customer relationship management systems (CRMs) to content management systems (CMSs), HR, and everything else in between.

This streamlined approach can improve user satisfaction. It can even help with talent acquisition by facilitating access, enhancing security, and minimizing password fatigue.

Let’s take a look at how companies go about selecting an online learning platform with SSO capabilities.

How do you choose an LMS with SSO?

In this section, we’ll go through a checklist that companies can use to choose the LMS with SSO that best fits their needs and requirements.

These criteria include the following:

  • Evaluate the data safety protocols: Most LMSs include an authentication and an authorization login protocol.
    The former verifies the user’s credentials, while the latter provides different access levels based on said credentials. Admins can use role assignments to control user access to different system parts.
    Docebo, for example, also maintains an information security management system (ISMS) and a set of ISO 27001 and AICPA/ISAE 3000 SOC 2-compliant controls designed to uphold the highest levels of data security.
  • Examine the platform’s SSO capabilities: Make sure to talk with the LMS vendor to determine the tool’s SSO functionalities in terms of encryption protocols, setting up new user accounts, single logouts (SLOs), and user provisioning.
    Also, look into the different SSO integrations the LMS has available. For instance, Docebo has SSO integrations with Google Apps, Gmail, LinkedIn, Facebook, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), and Auth0.
  • Examine the platforms’ use cases: Apart from the SSO capabilities of an LMS, you should also check its use cases.
    The single sign-on of the learning platform won’t do too much if the LMS doesn’t also cater to your organization’s specific online training requirements.
    Docebo is specifically designed to cover a broad range of use cases ranging from employee onboarding, upskilling and reskilling, sales and channel partner enablement, and customer onboarding, among others.
  • Consider the platform’s features in general: Similar to use cases, you also need to consider the LMS’s general features and functionalities.
    These include course and content authoring and management, mobile and social learning, gamification elements, reporting and analytics, e-commerce, video conferencing, automation, and more.
    Choose a system that strikes a good balance between these features, your use cases, and the company’s online training goals.
  • Look for an LMS with strong support: Setting up an LMS’s SSO and API integrations can be quite a hassle, particularly for first-time users with limited experience in the field.
    This is why it’s so important to look for an LMS vendor that provides great customer support, as they can save you a great deal of headaches.
    Check online for verified user reviews on G2 and Capterra to see what they say about the vendor’s customer service quality and responsiveness.

So, what are the different SSO options typically available for a learning management system?

What are the different SSO options in an LMS platform?

There are multiple SSO options available when it comes to different learning management platforms.

With Docebo LMS, you have access to the following SSO options:

  • Docebo for OpenID Connect: It provides a simple identity layer over the OAuth 2.0 protocol, allowing you to verify the user identity and obtain basic profile data in an interoperable way.
  • Docebo for Microsoft ADFS 2.0: Users can log into their platforms without having to enter their credentials as long as they’re already logged into your Microsoft Active Directory (AD) domain.
  • Docebo for SAML 2.0: By activating the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) integration into the LMS, users will be able to log into the LMS by using credentials from active sessions of other platforms. This SAML SSO integration connects Docebo with tools like Okta, OneLogin, Microsoft Azure AD, Salesforce Identity, Idaptive, and Ping Identity.
  • SSO integrations: Docebo also integrates with Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail, Google Apps, LDAP, and Auth0.

SSO Matters

SSO provides several key benefits for learning management systems by streamlining user access and enhancing your organization’s data security management.

With various options available, learners can sign in for their training sessions by using their LinkedIn or Facebook accounts, so they don’t have to remember countless passwords.

Schedule a demo with Docebo today and see how its SSO capabilities fare regarding your online training goals and use cases.